Brief Apparel History
Ever since 1902 when the first motorbike became a motorcycle, riders have wore motorcycle apparel and accessories. Sure back in the 1900s the riders wore Tweed suits and flat caps to protect themselves from the elements of the road. And as time went on they began wearing full length boots and gauntlet gloves inspired by the police and military of the time. By 1910 leather skull caps and aircraft spectacles were the fad of the day, these items offered more protection and prevented road injuries. Imagine riding a motorcycle in all sorts of weather with only your experience and achieved skill level to guide you in all your road adventures.
A nice leather jacket, great to keep you warm but you would have had to wait until 1928 when Irving Schott designed the first motorcycle leather jacket in NYC. This new leather jacket was all black leather and Mr. Schott named it the perfecto and it sure was for the time. By 1935 helmets became mandatory due to the actor T. E Lawrence died on a motorcycle accident that year and by 1960 the first full face helmet was made.
They were not as elaborate and safe as todays helmets but they were the start of keeping you safer. Today we have all different manufactures of helmets with all sorts of accessories and safety features and designs. As well as different types of pants weather they be jeans, chaps or racing pants they all offer the rider more protection. There are reflective vests, patterns, high tech material and fluorescent colors all made from the best materials and tested to perform in all elements on the open road. We live at a great time in history for the average motorcycle rider and his ever-changing motorcycle apparel and accessories.
Leather Motorcycle Jackets and Pants
Motorcycle jackets and motorcycle pants have a special place in my heart. I do love leather, I love the smell of it and the feel of it and how it makes you feel when you wear it. Even before I began riding my motorcycle I always loved leather jackets but when I saw people riding motorcycles wearing leather jackets and chaps this just looked awesome.
I do believe that a small part of me began riding as a direct result of wanting to put on a leather jacket and leather chaps and straddling a motorcycle to ride down the road. Motorcycle apparel and accessories was the term society would use to describe the clothes people should wear if riding a motorcycle from point A to point B. Well this is all fine for the rest of society but as a rider they are ;
- My Leather pants or Chaps, my keep my legs warm and dry and free from road debris,
- My anti-road rash friend who will save my skin by sacrificing his.
- That which becomes a part of the riding experience.
- The leathers that are as much a part of the bike as a part of me.
- My salvation through rain, sun, wind and fall my riding leather!
- My jacket, my keep me warm and dry, protector made from leather that will save me if I ever go down due to a cage not paying any attention or texting on the phone.
There are all kinds used according to the application intended. Classified into street gloves, off-road gloves, summer gloves, winter gloves, gauntlets/racing gloves, fingerless gloves and adventure/touring gloves. Why so many and why should you care, well try running as fast as you can on the concrete and dive forward to the ground your hands will attempt to catch your fall and you will end up with bloody hands.
Imagine traveling on a motorcycle at 55 or 65 MPH same involuntary reaction but with a devastating outcome. Now, wear gloves or do not wear gloves, do what you need to stay safe because you only get 1 pair of hands and they need to last a lifetime.
Now when looking for hand protection, motorcycle gloves come in all different categories for riding and designed to protect your fingers, knuckles, and wrists.
Off-Road Motorcycle Gloves:
- Used for trail bikes
- Made of leather, fake leather or textile
- Made for falling on dirt not open road
- Made for grip
Street Motorcycle Gloves:
- Used for riding on the open road and highways
- Hand protection for hard pavement
- Made of leather, fake leather or textile material
- Protection from road rash
- Made for summer and winter
- Made with multiple reinforcements for knuckle, finger and wrists
- Made for faster bikes
- Offer more protection in palm and wrists
- Made in leather but can be found in fake leather
- Ultimate protection
Adventure/Touring Motorcycle Gloves
- Made for touring and exploring the country or world
- Made of textile or leather, waterproof and durable
- Made to withstand the elements
- Made to protect the hands even when wet
Summer/Winter Motorcycle Gloves
- They keep your hands cool in hot weather
- Created with better ventilation
- Summer gloves made of textile and some provide knuckle protection
- Winter gloves have more insulation made from leather or fake leather
- Winter gloves, some provide knuckle, wrist and finger added protection
- Heated gloves ideal with temperature settings and easy plug in/battery connection to motorcycle
Fingerless Motorcycle Gloves
- By far the coolest of the bunch
- Protection for the palm and no protection for the fingers
- No wind protection for fingers when riding
- Little protection from the elements
- Made of leather or textile
Some like half helmets some like full face helmets some like 3/4 helmets hell some do not even wear one. Wear one do not wear one it is up to you the amount of risk you will take. Not judging just informing you of the different types of motorcycle helmets within the motorcycle apparel and accessories. From most offered protection to least offered welcome the full face helmets which cover the top, back, and front of your head and have a chin bar.
They have ventilation on the top and front of the helmet and some even come with internal visors. The more expensive ones come with a pin-lock system and they do keep the fog out when riding in the cold. The second is the modular helmets these are popular with adventure/touring riders providing a flip top mechanism creating a convenient and versatile helmet for drinking coffee or reading a road map. Although, less safe than a full face they are popular.
Number three open face helmets or 3/4 helmets popular among cruiser and scooter riders these helmets are equal in strength as the full face but provide less coverage and some come with no face shields.
The fourth is the infamous half helmet or brain bucket by far the coolest of the bunch popular with cruiser and vintage riders. This is the most minimalist protection for the rider and the impact resistance is substandard but DOT approved and it beats not wearing one. Number five is the off-road helmets designed for off-road use with poor sound proofing but great ventilation. They have a sun peals, pronounced angular chin bars, lightweight and with googles.
And finally dual sport helmets these are a new breed of helmets. They are a cross between off-road and full face helmets that provide excellent ventilation and soundproofing. These helmets to not lift up at highway speeds a great benefit for the off-roader who needs to hit some highway roads before reaching the trails.
As you can see ever since 1902 people wore motorcycle apparel and accessories and looked good while riding their motorcycle. Some have worn leather jackets and leather chaps some only the jacket. The leather material is a natural fit for motorcycle riding its rugged, sturdy, and comfortable and also protects you in a slide. Some have worn full face helmets some half helmets and some no helmets but most still wear gloves due to the wind and road debris.
I learned a long time ago that motorcycle riding is all about how much risk you will take. I know that the longer you ride the more confidant you become and that is a good. But for me wearing all the gear all the time will save your skin and life. Because it is not about your driving skills so much as the skill of all the cagers out on the road. Wear your apparel if not for you for a loved one because we are all motorcycle brothers.
Live, Love and Ride!
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